DOWN THE DRAIN: Marilyn Torres says the county is killing her business.

Torres and other Pico Boulevard merchants say a Los Angeles County storm drain project along Crescent Heights Boulevard is making it impossible to attract customers.

After a summer of construction-torn roads, Torres estimates her cafe and catering business will only last a few more months before she will be forced to close its doors.

“They detour the traffic out of the area, they put up no parking signs on all the meters and they have even closed off my parking lot,” Torres said.


In July, workers began digging the Hollyhills storm drain, a $43-million project that will alleviate flooding in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and other communities at the base of the Hollywood Hills. The project will run from Sunset Boulevard to Ballona Creek.

Torres said the construction began just as her cafe, Petit Sara, had made it through several hard years after the 1992 riots and last year’s Northridge earthquake.

County officials said they have received complaints about the storm drain construction. Officials say they are sympathetic to business owners but that the project is necessary to correct drainage problems.